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Rahmaan v. Lisath

November 9, 2006

RODELL RAHMAAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROY LISATH, KYLE MCKEON, AND JOSEPH MURRAY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Graham

On Friday, November 3, 2006, the Court held a Final Pretrial Conference in this matter. During the conference the Court heard arguments on several pending pretrial motions and ruled on the motions as follows. Counsel for the parties are hereby instructed that should they have questions regarding whether specific evidence may be introduced at trial in light of the Court's rulings, they are to request a sidebar conference with the Court before introducing such evidence.

ORDER

I. Plaintiff's Motion for Admission of Res Gestae Evidence

On October 13, 2006, Plaintiff filed a motion to admit res gestae evidence concerning: 1) the events that allegedly occurred on April 27, 1997 that led to the issuance of a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest, served on April 30, 1997; 2) the events that allegedly occurred on April 30, 1997 during the course of Plaintiff's arrest; and 3) the events that allegedly occurred at the police substation where Plaintiff was transported after his arrest (Doc. 46).

The Court finds that evidence of the events occurring on April 27, 1997, is not relevant to the issues to be tried in this case, as none of Defendants were present at Plaintiff's home on April 27. This evidence, therefore, is inadmissible. Three exceptions to the Court's ruling regarding events which allegedly occurred on April 27 are: 1) the fact that a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest was issued; 2) what the warrant provided; and 3) any reports regarding Plaintiff's dog of which Defendants were aware on April 30. Because this evidence was known to Defendants during their encounter with Plaintiff on April 30, it is relevant and admissible.

Evidence as to what Plaintiff may have said or done during the arrest on April 30 is also relevant as Plaintiff's statements and actions were readily observable by Defendants and may be relevant in determining the amount of force which was reasonable under the circumstances to arrest Plaintiff. Accordingly, the fact that Plaintiff's dog was killed during the course of Plaintiff's arrest on April 30 is relevant and admissible. However, any extrinsic evidence regarding the general temperament of the dog, is irrelevant and inadmissible.

Finally, the Court will defer ruling on the admissibility of the evidence of events that allegedly occurred at the police substation after Plaintiff's arrest. Again, counsel for both parties are instructed that before introducing any evidence regarding this matter, they must request a sidebar conference.

Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion (Doc. 46) is DENIED IN PART and GRANTED IN PART, and the Court DEFERS ruling on the remainder of the Motion.

II. Plaintiff's Motion in Limine

On October 13, 2006, Plaintiff also filed a motion in limine seeking to prohibit the introduction of any evidence regarding any criminal offense with which Plaintiff was charged or of which Plaintiff was convicted occurring after the events which gave rise to this action (Doc. 47). Defendants opposed the motion, seeking to have evidence of Plaintiff's guilty plea to the possession of cocaine in violation of Oh. Rev. Code § 2925.11, a fifth degree felony, admitted under Fed. R. Evid. 609(a)(1) to impeach Plaintiff's credibility.

Because the maximum prison term for such a violation is "twelve months" pursuant to Oh. Rev. Code. § 2929.14(A)(5), this evidence is not admissible under Fed. R. Evid. 609(a)(1), which provides that crimes punishable "by death or imprisonment in excess of one year under the law under which the witness was convicted" may be admissible to impeach subject to Rule 403. Fed. R. Evid. 609(a)(1) (emphasis added). Additionally, Defendants conceded that this evidence would not be admissible under Fed. R. Evid. 609(a)(2) which provides for the admissibility of crimes, regardless of the punishment, that involve dishonesty or false statement. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 47) is GRANTED.

III. Defendants' Motion in Limine

Finally, on October 24, 2006, Defendants filed a motion in limine seeking to prohibit the introduction of evidence regarding the following: 1) information from personnel, hiring, training, or internal affairs files; 2) the City of Columbus being a defendant, or that the City of Columbus might indemnify Defendants; 3) claims that Plaintiff did not resist arrest; 4) testimony regarding alleged physical intimidation while Plaintiff was at the substation; 5) testimony regarding events from April 27, 1997 and the dispute between Plaintiff and his neighbor; and 6) testimony regarding the shooting of Plaintiff's dog and any alleged associated damages (Doc. 49). In ruling on Plaintiff's Motion for the Admission of Res Gestae evidence, the Court has already addressed the fourth, fifth, and part of the sixth issues Defendants present, namely testimony regarding the events that allegedly occurred at the police substation, testimony regarding events that allegedly occurred on April 27, 1997, and testimony regarding the shooting of Plaintiff's dog.

During the conference, counsel for Plaintiff stated they do not intend to introduce evidence regarding the personnel files, ...


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